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Quest’s Official Non-store App Distribution Channel is Coming in Q1, 2021

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Facebook announced back in June that it planned to offer developers a way to distribute Oculus Quest apps outside of the official, curated, Quest store. Now the company indicates it has “high confidence” that the feature will be deployed in Q1, 2021.

Since the launch of Oculus Quest, Facebook has opted to ‘curate’ the Quest store by selectively permitting apps based on factors like quality, presentation, and scope. After backlash from some developers, and the burgeoning Quest ‘sideloading’ platform SideQuest, Facebook said it would offer an official avenue for developers to distribute their apps outside of the Quest store.

New Quest Distribution Path

In a video posted by the official Oculus Developers page on Facebook, Clorama Dorvilias, product manager at Facebook Reality Labs, explained that Oculus had added a new ‘Roadmap’ section to the developer website which highlights upcoming development features.

In previewing the roadmap, Dorvilias showed that the “New Quest Distribution Path” feature is expected in Q1, 2021. The company had previously said the feature was expected in “early 2021,” and now indicates “high confidence” that it will be available within Q1.

“Developers will have a way to distribute applications to anyone without having to be accepted in the Oculus Store and without sideloading,” the roadmap description says. “Applications will have to meet the obligations of the Oculus Content Policy, but won’t be held to the same technical standards as official Oculus Store Apps.”

Additionally, the roadmap indicated that a beta version of the feature would be made available to select developers in December, before the wider release in Q1, 2021.

Other items indicated on the developer roadmap for December: OpenXR support in UE4, a keyboard overlay for native Android apps, Unity debug symbol upload for OVR Platform Tool, crash analytics in the Developer Dashboard, and Visual Studio code debugging for UE4 and native VR apps.

Unlisted Apps & Keys

Oculus hasn’t offered much detail about how the Quest non-store distribution channel will work, or what, if any, limitations it will include beyond the need to comply with the Oculus Content Policy.

One approach, hinted by Oculus earlier this year, would be to have ‘unlisted’ application pages that can’t be found through the official Quest store, but which can be linked by URL, allowing developers to point users to the application page through a direct link. A parallel approach could be to allow developers to generate and manage ‘game keys’—which could be given away or sold through any channel of the developer’s choosing—which users would redeem through their Oculus app. The latter is already possible, in fact, but only available to applications which have been approved for distribution on the official Quest store.

The Cut

One big unanswered question about the non-store distribution channel for Quest is whether or not developers will be allowed to charge for applications distributed this way and, if so, whether or not Facebook will expect to take its usual 30% cut of the sale.

App stores generally justify taking a portion of app sales because they connect developers with customers by providing a marketplace and provide promotion within that marketplace. But ‘unlisted’ apps wouldn’t see any of those benefits because they wouldn’t appear in the official store, leaving it up to the developer to seek out customers directly.

Side Hustle

It also remains to be seen what this official non-store distribution channel will mean for SideQuest, which has become the defacto non-store distribution channel for Quest via sideloading. Depending upon the structure of Oculus’ approach, SideQuest could become a convenient platform for developers to list their unlisted apps for ‘store-like’ discovery by its community of users. But if Facebook doesn’t want to play nice, they could put policies in place to prevent this.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-quest-distribution-non-store-q1-2021/

AR/VR

Workout of the Week #2: Arms Focus

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Last week we shared our first workout guide to help you kickstart this year’s healthy habits with fun VR workouts. Workout of the Week #1…

Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/workout-of-the-week-2-arms-focus-600253415fb9a06b01cf757e?s=rss

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Wave Deprecates VR App to Focus on Broader Distribution of Its Virtual Performances

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Wave, the virtual venue & virtual event production company formerly known as TheWaveVR, has moved away from virtual reality over the last two years in favor of distributing its virtual performances to a broader audience through non-immersive media channels. The company today announced that it has “de-prioritized” its VR app, which will officially shut down at the end of March. Wave says the move will allow it to focus on bringing “more fans [to] experience our virtual events on popular streaming platforms.”

Founded in 2016, Wave has raised some $40 million in venture capital, according to Crunchbase, to chase its vision of virtual concerts as the future of music performances. The company has produced virtual events headlined by well known artists like John Legend and Lindsey Stirling. Performances are rendered in real-time, with artists donning mo-cap suits and face-tracking tech to bring their likeness into the virtual world as their avatars perform in fantastical virtual venues.

Image courtesy Wave

At the outset, the company’s platform was built to be immersive and interactive—even allowing users to host their own performances—with audiences joining the venue via virtual reality through the Wave Beta app which launched on Steam in 2017 and Oculus PC in 2018.

But with VR’s relatively slow adoption, the company realized it wasn’t reaching the scale of audience that it needed. Wave began focusing its efforts on broadcasting the virtual productions beyond virtual reality so that a wider audience could enjoy the show. Now the company says its fully focused on delivering virtual productions through traditional channels, like livestreams, and will be shutting down its VR app at the end of March.

The primary reason, the company maintains, is that part of its VR app relies on Google’s 3D model hosting platform, Poly (which itself is shutting down); Wave says it doesn’t have the resources to build a new solution into the app. The company contends that its best option is to shutter the app for now, and promises to do “everything we can to one day bring back [the VR experience] in an even more evolved form.”

Wave CEO & co-founder Adam Arrigo publicly shared the following note:

We founded Wave almost five years ago to connect humanity through immersive music experiences. That journey started in the VR space, with our community-driven VR app on Steam, and it’s been rewarding watching our community of creators use our tools to host their own VR concerts. We never foresaw the incredible things people would create, and often attending those shows felt like peering into the future of live music / visual art performance and being blown away by the result.

Two years ago we pivoted out of VR into gaming and live-streaming, as the VR industry didn’t develop as quickly as we’d hoped. Artists need audiences to thrive, and we realized VR just wasn’t there yet, and there was a bigger opportunity for artists outside headsets. Even though ti doesn’t fit our current business model, we’ve kept TheWaveVR app and servers running just because the community in there has made such inspiring stuff. Unfortunately we built the user tools on top of Google Poly, which is shutting down.

As much as we’d love to, we aren’t able to spend the resources to build a new backend pipeline, since we are already spread so thin trying to accomplish our current set of non VR objectives. We are still a relatively small startup. The hardest part of running a startup is choosing what to focus on, which has led us to the difficult decision to sunset TheWaveVR app on Steam and Oculus.

Even though this means the Wave VR shows will come to a pause, we think this is the best decision for the long term future of the Wave community, and we promise to do everything we can to one day bring back this experience in an even more evolved form. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts for joining us for all those multi-hour VR raves and for helping us craft this vision of the future of music and art. We hope you’ll join us for this next chapter.

The post Wave Deprecates VR App to Focus on Broader Distribution of Its Virtual Performances appeared first on Road to VR.

Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/wave-deprecates-vr-app-to-focus-on-broader-distribution-of-its-virtual-performances-600238e9db52f79e79dcfee4?s=rss

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Enter a Fairytale World Reimagined for VR in ‘Baba Yaga’ from Baobab Studios

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The creators of INVASION!, Crow: The Legend, Bonfire, and more, six-time Emmy Award-winning animation studio Baobab Studios knows a thing or two about compelling VR…

Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/enter-a-fairytale-world-reimagined-for-vr-in-baba-yaga-from-baobab-studios-60023716db52f79e79dcfee3?s=rss

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VR Download: Battlescar, Doom 3 For Quest, System Shock 2, And The Outlook For 2021

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This week’s VR Download Games discussion covered Battlescar, Doom 3 on Oculus Quest, System Shock 2, and the overall outlook for virtual reality in 2021.

We also encountered a funny bug in our custom-built virtual recording studio wherein David couldn’t hear me, which forced him to depend on our live viewers to ensure I wasn’t insulting him live on YouTube.

Check out the discussion here:

Here’s a list of the key timestamps if you don’t have time to watch the whole show:

  • 1:08 – Battlescar
  • 3:36 – Doom 3 for Quest
  • 9:04 – Mare
  • 10:21 – Quest getting multiple accounts
  • 14:14 – Dragon Quest VR?
  • 17:13 – 1.7 million new SteamVR users in 2020
  • 20:42 – PSVR 2020 Top Sellers
  • 27:22 – System Shock 2 VR
  • 31:53 – Hitman 3 PSVR
  • 37:20 – Where is VR going in 2021?
  • 56:40 – Outro

The VR Download broadcasts live to YouTube Mondays at 1 pm Pacific and Thursdays at 2:30 Pacific, with a tech-focused discussion on Monday and a games-focused event on Thursday. We have YouTube comments up in VR so we can interact live with our audience and we’d love to have you join us with questions or to join in the discussion.

You can see lots of our past archived streams over in our YouTube playlist or even all livestreams here on UploadVR and various other gameplay highlights. There’s lots of good stuff there so make sure and subscribe to us on YouTube to stay up-to-date on gameplay videos, video reviews, live talk shows, interviews, and more original content.

Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/vr-download-battlescar-doom-3-for-quest-system-shock-2-and-the-outlook-for-2021-60020fd9365465c46a9f3086?s=rss

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